Book Reviews

Men Without Women Review: Haunting, Beautiful, Playful And Relatable

Haruki Murakami is arguably the most well-known Japanese author for western audiences. With a writing career that spans over forty years, Murakami has been delighting readers for decades with his signature surrealist humour and bittersweet reflection on the transience of life. 

While Murakami has written some wonderful novels, I’ve found myself gravitating towards his short stories lately. One of his most memorable collections is Men Without Women, a poignant series of short stories that delves into the concept of loneliness and what it means for different people. 

In the absence of female company, all of the men in this collection have lost something. Sometimes it’s subtle, sometimes it’s obvious. The reader feels it in every word and that is Murakami’s talent on full display.

Continue reading “Men Without Women Review: Haunting, Beautiful, Playful And Relatable”

Book Reviews

Brian Ashcraft’s Japanese Whisky Guide Is A Must-Read Book For Whisky Lovers

It’s no secret that Japanese whisky has taken the world by storm, regularly fetching high prices at auctions and earning award after award, captivating the hearts and bank accounts of whisky lovers from all walks of life. But this wasn’t always the case.

There was a time not so long ago when Japanese whisky was looked down on as inferior to other whisky varieties like scotch and bourbon. So, what changed? The answers can be found in Brian Ashcraft’s brilliant Japanese Whisky: The Ultimate Guide To The World’s Most Desirable Spirit.

Packed full of insight and history, this is a must-read book for anyone with even a passing interest in whisky and Japanese culture.

Continue reading “Brian Ashcraft’s Japanese Whisky Guide Is A Must-Read Book For Whisky Lovers”

Book Reviews

Koji Alchemy Review: A Book That Will Change Your Perception Of Mould

Koji Alchemy by Rich Shih and Jeremy Umansky.

Food and drink have the power to be transformative, whether it’s through unearthing a new culture, or the simple joy of spending time with friends and family. That sense of magic can be felt in certain ingredients and transform how we look at categories such as mould. Koji is exactly the kind of magical substance that will change your perception of how a mould is used in food and drink.

Koji Alchemy, written by Rich Shih and Jeremy Umansky, is a comprehensive guide on understanding what makes koji so versatile. From delving into the history of different strains, to offering one-of-a-kind recipes, Koji Alchemy is a must-read book for chefs, fermentation enthusiasts and anyone who’d like to expand their knowledge on an ingredient that’s ushering in a new wave of innovation.

Continue reading “Koji Alchemy Review: A Book That Will Change Your Perception Of Mould”

Book Reviews

The Tokyo Travel Sketchbook Review: Capturing The Contradictory Nature Of Japan

The Tokyo Travel Sketchbook by Amaia Arrazola takes the reader on an artistic journey through Tokyo.

From writers to artists, Japan has a history of inspiring creatives to bring a new dimension to their work. When Spanish artist Amaia Arrazola took up an art residency in Tokyo, she was inspired to create an entire art portfolio after spending a month in Japan’s capital. The Tokyo Travel Sketchbook: Kawaii Culture, Wabi Sabi Design, Female Samurais and Other Obsessions is the fruit of Arrazola’s labour. Continue reading “The Tokyo Travel Sketchbook Review: Capturing The Contradictory Nature Of Japan”

Book Reviews

Kaizen: The Japanese Method Of Transforming Habits One Small Step At A Time Review: Insightful And Resonant

Kaizen by Sarah Harvey is an insightful and resonant self-help book.


In recent years, Japanese philosophy has had a profound effect on the West. Practices such as ikigai and yugen have become popular for developing a positive mental health routine. Yet one of the earliest Japanese practices to take off in the West happened to be an amalgamation of both cultures called kaizen.

A Japanese noun for ‘improvement,’ kaizen is all about making continuous change throughout life. In Kaizen: The Japanese Method Of Transforming Habits One Small Step at a Time, Sarah Harvey explores the practice in great detail. But rather than just being a typical self-help book, Harvey goes deeper by examining the history of kaizen and introducing psychological theory as well. Continue reading “Kaizen: The Japanese Method Of Transforming Habits One Small Step At A Time Review: Insightful And Resonant”

Book Reviews · Japanese Cuisine

The Real Japanese Izakaya Cookbook Review: An Excellent Book To Have In Your Kitchen

The Real Japanese Izakaya Cookbook has loads of amazing recipes for people who want to cook Japanese food at home.

Japanese cooking features some of the most enjoyable ingredients on the planet and an izakaya is one of the best places to enjoy traditional Japanese fare. Famous for a small-plate style of serving, izakayas are a wonderful place to share a meal with friends and family.

The Real Japanese Izakaya Cookbook, written by Wataru Yokota, takes the reader on a journey through 120 classic izakaya dishes that can be cooked from home. Continue reading “The Real Japanese Izakaya Cookbook Review: An Excellent Book To Have In Your Kitchen”

Book Reviews

Geishas And The Floating World Review: A Fascinating Read That Separates Myth From Reality

 

Geisha And The Floating World review.

The geisha is one of the most famous images of Japanese culture. Elegant, mysterious and graceful, geisha have connotations with a romantic side of Japan that’s been perpetuated by myths and legends. The truth is a lot more complicated.

Stephen and Ethel Longstreet’s Geishas and The Floating World delves into the myths surrounding geisha and separate fact from fiction. The book charts the rise and fall of the infamous Yoshiwara districts that became a part of The Floating World and women’s roles within it. Continue reading “Geishas And The Floating World Review: A Fascinating Read That Separates Myth From Reality”

Book Reviews

South Of The Border, West Of The Sun Review: A Dream-Like And Radiant Love Story

South Of The Border, West Of The Sun book review.

Haruki Murakami is arguably the most well-known Japanese author in the west.  His unique writing style has captured the attention of readers all over the world and one of his most memorable books is South Of The Border, West Of The Sun.

Focusing on the relationship between two childhood friends who reconnect in their thirties, South Of The Border, West Of The Sun contains all the classic tropes of a Murakami novel.  There’s jazz, joy, heartbreak and the indomitable willpower of the human spirit to go after what it yearns for. Continue reading “South Of The Border, West Of The Sun Review: A Dream-Like And Radiant Love Story”

Book Reviews

The Power Of Chowa Review: Soulful, Honest And Relatable

The pursuit of finding balance is a life-long goal that’s forever changing. Everyone has different perspectives on what they need to find peace, whether it’s through spending time with friends, or going for a long walk. Author Akemi Tanaka believes the best way to find balance is with chowa, the Japanese concept of harmony.

In her book, The Power Of Chowa, Tanaka tells the story of her life and pulls back the curtain on what it means to walk your own path in Japanese culture. Soulful, honest and powerful, The Power Of Chowa is a book that’s worth reading. Continue reading “The Power Of Chowa Review: Soulful, Honest And Relatable”

Book Reviews

Sixty-Nine Review: A Nostalgic Novel That Celebrates The Endless Possibilities Of Youth

Ryu Murakami is one of Japan’s most famous authors. His work is often characterised by shocking violence and off the wall themes, as seen from hits like In the Miso Soup and Audition. But even the enfant terrible of contemporary Japanese literature doesn’t have to be defined by one type of genre. Murakami is just as capable of writing a story that’s relatable and deeply personal like Sixty-Nine. Continue reading “Sixty-Nine Review: A Nostalgic Novel That Celebrates The Endless Possibilities Of Youth”